Orchids are one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, but they also have a reputation for being hard to care for. However, caring for orchids isn’t particularly difficult, it’s just a little different. Once you understand what these beautiful blooms need, you can keep them healthy, happy, and blooming for a long time.
Proper watering is very important for orchids. Depending on the humidity, light levels, soil, climate, and the type of orchid, they want regular watering – every couple of days to every week. But one of the mistakes people make with orchids is overwatering, leading to root rot. Let your orchid tell you when it’s time to water – give them a drink just before they go dry. Depending on all the factors I already mentioned, as well as the soil medium you are using, this will vary greatly. Put your fingers into the soil and check how much moisture is available. After some time with your orchid, you’ll begin to understand what the optimum level of moisture is – neither soaking, nor dry. Also! Make sure the container has drainage holes!
As we just discussed, your potting medium is going to greatly impact how often you water your orchid. Sand, charcoal, perlite, rocks, cork, and potting soil, as well as moss and bark, are all used.
If you tend to forget to water, an orchid planted in moss might be best, as it retains moisture for longer to give you more time between watering. If you are prone to overwatering, bark drains more quickly and allows the orchid to dry out a little more between watering. The type of orchid will largely determine what potting mix you will use. If you use bark, you will want to repot every year or two, as the bark will naturally decompose over time. Clip any dead roots before you replace your flower into the pot and add fresh bark.
Make sure you are giving your orchid plenty of bright, indirect light, ideally from an east-facing window. As long as you have a sheer curtain or set them back a little from the window to avoid too much heat, west and south-facing windows can also work. There are also certain types that do well in lower light conditions.
Don’t let them be exposed to too much direct light or you can scorch the leaves.
To keep your orchid blooming, keep them in moderate temperatures of 16-24 degrees Celsius.
Your orchids will also bloom better if they have a cooler environment (about 8 degrees Celsius cooler, or on the lower end of that temperature range above) at night than during the day.
Especially in dry Alberta, it’s important to add moisture to the air for your tropical orchid. Mist them daily, run a humidifier, or set the pot atop (not nestled into) a moist bed of gravel to give them some additional humidity.
Use 20-20-20 fertilizer (with no urea) to give your orchid a boost. This will happen weekly or monthly, depending on the variety. This is essential for promoting reblooming for a dormant plant. Make sure the soil is a little damp before you fertilize so you don’t burn the roots. It is better to under-fertilize than over-fertilize – the general rule of thumb for orchids is “weekly, weakly”, meaning diluted fertilizer on a weekly basis.